Easy One-Skillet Lamb Meatball Shakshuka

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easy shakshuka

What’s Up, Hungry People?

Today we’re talking about shakshuka, the Israeli breakfast legend that’s stormed the international brunch scene like a rockstar. And yes, you’ve got it right, we’re throwing in a game-changer: saffron-infused lamb meatballs. Plus, we’re going green with some spinach action.

Shakshuka, a term derived from Arabic slang meaning “mixture,” is a dish that encapsulates the fusion of cultures and the shared history of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. Its story is a complex tapestry woven from various threads of culinary traditions.

The basic premise of shakshuka — eggs poached in a tomato sauce — likely has roots in the Ottoman Empire, with variations found in Turkish cuisine and spreading across North Africa. However, it’s most closely associated with Tunisian cuisine, from where it spread to Israel, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, and Egypt, adopted and adapted by Jewish communities.

When waves of North African immigrants arrived in Israel in the 1950s and 1960s, they brought their recipes with them, and shakshuka quickly became a staple. Israeli cooks embraced it heartily, incorporating local ingredients and serving it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Israeli version is what most people know today: a rich, spicy concoction that can be enhanced with whatever is at hand — meats, cheeses, vegetables, or all of the above.

In Israel, it’s more than just food; it’s a cultural symbol representing the melting pot of Israeli society. Moreover, the versatility and simplicity of shakshuka align perfectly with the Israeli ethos of fresh, straightforward, and communal meals.

As global interest in international cuisines has soared, so too has the popularity of shakshuka around the world. It’s celebrated not just for its flavors but for its comforting nature and its capacity to serve as a blank canvas for culinary creativity. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or throw in your own mix of flavors, shakshuka has earned its place as a beloved dish in the global gastronomic landscape.

baked shakshuka

Breaking Breakfast Boundaries

Shakshuka is the chameleon of breakfast dishes, seamlessly morphing into a brinner (breakfast for dinner, for the uninitiated) superstar. My version tweaks the traditional recipe with a twist that’ll make your taste buds do a happy dance. You read it right—saffron-infused lamb meatballs join the party here. And because I can’t leave well enough alone, spinach is crashing this shakshuka soiree too.

One Skillet Wonder

Here’s a high-five to dishes that keep the sink clear! Shakshuka is your kitchen’s best friend because it’s a one-skillet wonder. Be sure to arm yourself with a cast iron skillet or any oven-proof comrade for when it’s egg-cracking time.

ingredients for shakshuka

Here’s What You Need

  • Ground Lamb: The star protein of the dish, lends rich flavor.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: Forms the saucy base and adds acidity and moisture.
  • Onion: Offers a foundational aromatic sweetness to the sauce.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Adds a mild, sweet crunch and color to the dish.
  • Garlic: Intensifies the overall savory notes of the shakshuka.
  • Eggs: Poached in sauce, provide richness and texture contrast.
  • Fresh Spinach: Introduces color, nutrition, and earthy notes.
  • Fresh Parsley: Adds fresh, herbaceous brightness as a garnish.
  • Paprika: Imparts warmth and depth with a sweet peppery flavor.
  • Cumin: Contributes its distinctive warm and earthy spice note.
  • Coriander: Delivers a lemony, floral flavor kick.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Offers a spicy heat that lingers.
  • Cinnamon: Gives a sweet-spicy complexity to the meatballs.
  • Caraway Seeds: Adds a subtle, anise-like flavor and aroma.
  • Feta Cheese: Brings a tangy, salty crumble to the dish.
  • Saffron: Infuses the meatballs with luxury and a unique, aromatic taste.
  • Salt & Pepper: Seasoning duo essential for flavor enhancement.
  • Ghee: Used for cooking, adds a nutty richness.
  • Pita Bread: Serves as a vessel for scooping up the hearty dish.
  • Tahini: Provides a creamy, nutty condiment to complement the shakshuka.
meatballs browned

Let’s Cook!

Start with the lamb meatballs, giving them a nice tan in some ghee. They might look like they’re underdressed (a little pink inside), but that’s just fine. They’re about to dive back into the sauce hot tub later, so they’ll finish cooking there.

sauting peppers and onions

Veggie Saute & Spice Symphony

After the meatballs have exited stage left, keep the ghee party going. Toss in peppers, onions, and the magic of garlic to set the stage.

sauting spices

Reduce the temperature for a few minutes, so when you add the tomatoes, they don’t sizzle and spatter all over the place!

sauce ingredients for shakshuka

The Spinach Plot Twist

Got frozen spinach? Thaw it out and squeeze it like it owes you money—no extra water allowed here. Tumble it into the skillet until it’s as wilted as your resolve on a diet day.

spinach shakshuka

Egging On

Nestle the meatballs back into their saucy hot tub and get cracking—literally.

eggs in shakshuka

Pop an egg into each nest you make, and then let feta rain down like confetti on this skillet party.

feta in shakshuka

Oven Magic

Slide your skillet into the oven and bake until the eggs look like the sunny side of life (about 10 minutes for runny, more if you’re a firm yolk fan). For those who walk on the wild side with runny eggs, keep it to just a tenner in the oven.

The Final Act

Serve this up with pita bread—because let’s be honest, everything’s better with bread—and a fresh dusting of feta.

easy baked shakshuka

Anytime is Shakshuka Time

While shakshuka may scream ‘Good Morning’ in Israel, it screamed ‘Good Evening’ in my house pre-holiday season—whether it’s gearing up for Christmas or getting down with Hanukkah vibes. It’s a feast for breakfast, a win for lunch, and a savior at dinner.

Tips for a Perfect Shashuka & Lamb Meatballs

  • Browning the Meatballs: Ensure meatballs are browned but not fully cooked in the skillet. They’ll finish cooking in the sauce, keeping them moist inside.
  • Using Frozen Spinach: Thaw and squeeze out excess water from frozen spinach to prevent the sauce from becoming too watery.
  • Choosing the Right Pan: A cast-iron skillet is ideal for shakshuka; it retains heat well and is oven-proof.
  • Spice Balance: Adjust the cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes to taste, especially if you prefer a less or more spicy dish.
  • Saffron Quality: Use high-quality saffron for the best flavor; a little goes a long way in infusing the lamb with a luxurious taste.
  • Feta Cheese Crumbles: Add feta cheese after the eggs have partially set to keep its texture and flavor distinct.
  • Consistency of Eggs: Check the eggs a few minutes early to ensure they’re cooked to your liking; oven temperatures may vary.
  • Serving Temperature: Serve shakshuka hot, straight from the skillet, for the best flavor and presentation.
serving of shakshuka

So, Hungry People, it’s time to shake up your shakshuka game with this hearty twist. And when you’ve ladelled out the last of it, don’t forget to savor that proud, “I made this” moment.

Remember, shakshuka and lamb meatballs is not just a dish; it’s a reminder that the best meals often come with no borders or rules. So next time you find yourself stuck in a meal rut, why not spice up your life with this skillet of joy? It’s living proof that sometimes, the best way to pay homage to a classic is to make it your own. And if that isn’t a metaphor for life, I don’t know what is.

homemade shakshuka

With shashuka and lamb meatballs on your table, you’ve got a dish that’s as flexible in timing as it is in taste – breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it’s here to impress. Grab your skillet, and don’t shy away from making it your own. Add more heat if you can handle it, or keep it cool for a milder palate. Either way, the rich flavors of lamb, aromatic spices, and poached eggs nestled in a hearty tomato sauce won’t disappoint.

Serve it up with warm pita or crusty bread to scoop up all that goodness and watch as this becomes a repeat request at your dinner table. Cheers to delicious versatility and your next meal that just might steal the show!

easy shahsuka

Shashuka & Lamb Meatballs

The Starving Chef
Savory lamb meatballs and poached eggs in a spiced tomato sauce make this shashuka a hearty meal for any time of day.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Breakfast, International
Cuisine African, International, Middle East
Servings 8


  • 16 oz ground lamb
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 onion chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper sliced
  • 3 tablespoons garlic minced
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons coriander
  • ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • pinch saffron
  • 3 tablespoons ghee for sauting
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • tahini for serving
  • pita for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a bowl, mix together the ground lamb with half the amounts of paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, the caraway seeds, 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley, the red pepper flakes, and a pinch of saffron. Use your hands to combine the ingredients thoroughly.
  • Melt two tablespoons of ghee in a large, oven-proof skillet over high heat. Form the lamb mixture into one-inch round meatballs. Place the meatballs in the skillet, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. Remove the meatballs from the skillet and set them aside.
  • Using the same skillet, with the remaining ghee, sauté the chopped onions and sliced red bell pepper until softened. Stir in the minced garlic and the remaining paprika, cumin, and coriander. Continue to cook until the vegetables are well-coated with the spices.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the crushed tomatoes, stirring them into the vegetable mixture. Once the tomatoes are hot, stir in the spinach and cook until it wilts.
  • Return the lamb meatballs to the skillet, stirring them into the sauce until well-covered.
  • Make small divots in the sauce and gently crack an egg into each indentation. Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese over the entire skillet and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes for runny yolks, 15 minutes for soft yolks, or 20 minutes for hard yolks, according to your preference.
  • Serve the shakshuka with pita bread and tahini on the side. Enjoy!
Keyword eggs, lamb, meatballs, tomato
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